Traveling overseas with a toddler can seem daunting. The thought of navigating airports, new environments, and disrupted routines with a tiny dictator who communicates mainly through tantrums might make you want to just stay home. But with some planning and flexibility, traveling internationally with a toddler can also create wonderful memories and valuable learning experiences for your child. Here are some things to consider to make your overseas trip with a toddler less stressful and more enjoyable.
Planes and Trains
Getting to your destination with a toddler in tow requires some strategic planning. If you will be flying, research airlines that offer bassinets, have kid-friendly in-flight entertainment and serve free kids' meals. Try to schedule flights during nap times or at night so your toddler can sleep. Bring engaging toys and books as well as snacks to keep your toddler occupied during the flight. Make sure you organize a passport for your toddler in plenty of time and check whether your passport needs renewing. The best way to get passport renewal is by doing it online.
When booking trains, opt for direct routes and daytime travel when your toddler is alert. Make frequent stops to get out and run around. Pack a potty seat, wipes, and a change of clothes in case of accidents. Have toys, books, and snacks on hand to minimize fussiness. Keep reasonable expectations - some meltdowns during lengthy transit times are inevitable.
Finding the right lodging is key when traveling with a toddler. Look for suite-style hotels that offer separate sleeping areas, kitchenettes, laundries, and ample space to contain your toddler's exuberance. Apartment and home rentals are also great options for families, giving you more room to spread out. Access to pools, playgrounds, and open spaces nearby is a nice bonus when choosing where to stay, so read reviews and check the details of the listing to see what amenities are available.
What you pack will make or break your trip. Bring enough diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes to account for blowouts and messes. Pack your toddler's security items - favorite stuffed animal, blanket, pacifier - to ease anxiety in new surroundings. Bring portable toys that can be easily replaced if lost or broken. Consider packing a cheap tablet loaded with movies and shows for entertainment during long plane and car rides. Don't forget to bring any medications, baby monitors, child safety locks, and other gear if needed.
Establish a Routine
Toddlers thrive on routines. Try to stick as close as possible to your toddler's normal schedule for sleeping, eating, and napping while traveling. Bring familiar items from home - certain cups, utensils, PJs - to help maintain a sense of normalcy. Keep bedtime rituals like bath time, stories, and songs consistent. Be prepared to be flexible when time differences and travel disruptions throw off your routine - have snacks, toys and patience on hand when delays cause frustration.
With some preparation and flexibility, traveling overseas with a toddler can create wonderful memories. Keep your expectations realistic, plan engaging activities, maintain routines, and stay patient. Embracing the adventure together will let you experience new places through your toddler's eyes.